The Brainfit study: efficacy of cognitive training and exergaming in pediatric cancer survivors - a randomized controlled trial.

Benzing, Valentin Johannes; Eggenberger, Noëmi; Spitzhüttl, Janine Sophie; Siegwart, Valerie; Pastore-Wapp, Manuela; Kiefer, Claus; Slavova, Nedelina Bozhidarova; Grotzer, Michael; Heinks Maldonado, Theda; Schmidt, Mirko; Conzelmann, Achim; Steinlin, Maja; Everts, Regula; Leibundgut, Kurt (2018). The Brainfit study: efficacy of cognitive training and exergaming in pediatric cancer survivors - a randomized controlled trial. BMC cancer, 18(1), p. 18. BioMed Central 10.1186/s12885-017-3933-x

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Cancer survival comes at a price: pediatric cancer survivors bear a high risk for a wide range of cognitive difficulties. Therefore, interventions targeting these difficulties are required. The aim of the present clinical trial is to extend empirical evidence about efficacy of cognitive and physical training in pediatric cancer survivors. It is hypothesized that early cognitive and physical interventions affect the remediation of pediatric cancer survivors in terms of improved executive functions (primary outcome). Additional positive effects of cognitive and physical intervention to other areas such as memory and attention are expected (secondary outcome). Changes in cognitive performance are expected to be associated with structural and functional changes in the brain.


Overall, 150 pediatric cancer survivors and 50 matched controls will be included in this trial. The cancer survivors will be randomly assigned to either a computerized cognitive training, a physical training (exergaming) or a waiting control group. They will be assessed with neuropsychological tests, tests of sport motor performance and physical fitness before and after 8 weeks of training and again at a 3-months follow-up. Moreover, neuroimaging will be performed at each of the three time points to investigate the training impact on brain structure and function.


With increasing cancer survival rates, evidence-based interventions are of particular importance. New insights into training-related plasticity in the developing brain will further help to develop tailored rehabilitation programs for pediatric cancer survivors.


KEK BE 196/15; KEK ZH 2015-0397; ICTRP NCT02749877 ; date of registration: 30.11.2016; date of first participant enrolment: .18.01.2017.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology

UniBE Contributor:

Benzing, Valentin Johannes, Eggenberger, Noëmi, Spitzhüttl, Janine Sophie, Siegwart, Valerie, Pastore-Wapp, Manuela, Kiefer, Claus, Slavova, Nedelina Bozhidarova, Heinks Maldonado, Theda, Schmidt, Mirko, Conzelmann, Achim, Steinlin, Maja, Everts, Regula, Leibundgut, Kurt


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central




Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

16 Jan 2018 12:47

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:09

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Active video gaming Brain tumor Childhood cancer survivors Physical exercise Physical training Working memory training




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